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Department of Physics
University of Oregon

Unified Graduate Exam

The department administers a unified graduate exam, which may be passed at either the master's or Ph.D. level. The exam is offered twice a year, on two consecutive afternoons in Spring and Fall. It covers the four core subject areas (mechanics, electricity/magnetism/optics, modern physics/quantum mechanics, and thermal/statistical physics). Material covered by the combined exam is primarily at the level of advanced undergraduate physics, but up to one third of the problems test core graduate level material. Some questions span more than one content area.

Master's Level Exam Pass

In determining pass/fail at the master's level, the problem in each area for which the student received the lowest score is dropped. Then a percentage score is calculated based on the remaining problems. The student passes the exam at the master's level if the the score is equal to or greater than the overall passing score set by the Examination Committee.

Ph.D Level Exam Pass

In determining pass/fail at Ph.D. level, no problems are dropped, so the percentage score is calculated based on all problems. The student passes the exam at the Ph.D. level if the the score is equal to or greater than the overall passing score set by the Examination Committee.